Saturday, November 28, 2015

What's blooming in winter?

It's not officially winter yet, but we've gotten the first real chill in California this last week. Let's see what's blooming in spite of the – relative – cold (it's still California, after all).

Pinguicula emarginata and Pinguicula lusitanica are both putting up blooms.

Pinguicula emarginata with bud.
The venation in this flower is even visible before it opens.
Pinguicula lusitanica with bud.
There you go little guy!
P. emarginata is extremely floriferous, and it's got wonderful flowers. I like having it in my collection! The P. lusitanica is a very healthy specimen I got from Josh, and I'm hoping it'll set seed with this bloom, rather than just dying like my last one did.

The alien and adorable Utricularia pubescens has a solitary bloom right now.

Utricularia pubescens.
Funny little flower.
Unfortunately the sporangia outnumber the flower stalks in this pot. Fortunately, the U. pubescens flowers are cool as heck.

My Byblis liniflora keeps making new blooms, but I've yet to collect any seed from it.

Byblis liniflora.
B. liniflora is so delicate-looking.
For whatever reason these guys just aren't making any fruit/seeds. It's still a great plant, but I need to get seed before it dies off. Oh well, I can enjoy it for now at least!

There are a couple other plants blooming right now that I've yet to get seed from: Drosera venusta and Drosera madagascariensis.

D. spiralis with D. venusta flower stalk.
This flower stalk is much too long.
Drosera madagascariensis flower stalk.
Good luck little guy.
That D. venusta stalk is super long and dangly. As you can see, it's insinuated itself among the Drosera spiralis. There might be some seed setting in the spent buds, but I can't tell. The D. madagascariensis might have a better shot this time around, since it's in full scramble, and will be able to support itself on the media once the stalk gets too long. We'll see.

One plant that I'm betting on heavily for seed is this Drosera capensis red form. It's gotten several significant feedings, and it's rewarding me with a fat crop of buds.

Drosera capensis red for flower stalk.
A lot more to come here.
Josh has said that this form of D. capensis is the only one that occasionally fails to set seed for him, but I think that this flower stalk at least is chugging away – I'm pretty sure there's some seed swelling in the oldest buds. The tough thing will be to avoid bumping it while it finishes blooming out.

Drosera aliciae and Drosera anglica CA × HI are both blooming for the first time in a while, and I'm excited to get some seed from them.

Drosera aliciae with flower stalk.
Haven't seen this one in a while!
Drosera anglica CA × HI.
I need to do something about this corner.
The D. aliciae that live in the community pot always seem to struggle with humic acid buildup, which makes their growth stall, but I'm not sure what to do about it. Eventually it clears up and growth starts again. I should feed this guy to get a nice crop of seed. The D. anglica is sitting over in the former quarantine tray, and is bending towards the light (the bulbs should be replaced soon).

Finally, there's a flower open on some Drosera omissa.

Drosera omissa with flower.
If you're not growing pygmies yet you should start this season.
As you can see, this species is a very enthusiastic bloomer. It's funny, I've only gotten a few species of pygmies to flower. D. omissa flowers the most readily, and I've also gotten blooms on D. leucostigma, D. allantostigma, and D. helodes. However, I've never flowered D. scorpioides, or D. pulchella, or any of the other species that are otherwise doing so well. It's curious.

The gemmae are ripening though :-D

Monday, November 23, 2015

Plants pulling through

Here's a silly story:

A few weeks ago I was rearranging my collection and I took my small pot of Pinguicula gigantea × moctezumae out of its tray and set it on top of my shelves. In the dark. In a dry tray. Over two weeks later I was walking to my car, looked in the little window in my garage door, and noticed my plant. I rushed back inside, and put it in a proper tray, in the water, under the lights.

It's totally fine.

Pinguicula moctezumae × gigantea.
There's even a leaf pull that struck in this time.
It's barely even etiolated. This pot was in the dark for over 2 weeks. The soil was bone-dry and rock hard. And a couple days later you can't even tell. This is an offset from a plant that my friend Anne got when she was 11, and is the only carnivore she never managed to kill. Great plant!

Another plant that's getting over a rough patch is my Drosera 'Emerald's Envy'.

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy.'
One of my favorites! Glad it's coming back.
This plant bloomed hard, sending up two flower stalks in quick succession (from which I was able to harvest a healthy amount of seed). Right then we had our last heat wave of the summer, and I think the combination just stressed it out. It had sat around with no traps, just petioles, for over a month, but now it's getting back to business. I've been feeding the new traps in order to give it a good burst of energy.

I've also begun to re-hydrate my Drosera cistiflora pot.

Drosera cistiflora...hopefully.
Fingers crossed!
We'll see if I'm successful with it. My tuberous pots aren't showing any sign of life so far, but I'm still holding out hope. This one as well – it went to sleep late, so it didn't get a particularly long dormancy. We'll see!

On the other side of things, my Drosera brevifolia have germinated!

Drosera brevifolia seedlings.
There are at least 4 seedlings in this pot. Try and spot them!
I noticed (and took this picture) a few days ago, and given the size of the seedlings I'd say they probably germinated sometime in early November. That means it took something like 18 weeks from when I sowed them back in late July. Don't give up on your seeds too quickly! Now I'm just waiting on those red Drosera filiformis.

The nearby Drosera burmannii (Gunung Keledang) have had a bit of a head start, and one in particular is looking excellent.

Drosera burmannii (Gunung Keledang) seedlings.
Loving that color combination.
I should finish hardening these off and get some serious feeding started.

The last set of seed is the one I'm most excited about, Drosera tomentosa.

Drosera tomentosa seedlings.
Now they just need to out-compete the moss.
I hope this is one of the forms with extravagantly fuzzy flower stalks. They're so cute! I'm trying to find South American sundews right now, btw, and would be happy to trade for plants, roots, leaf cuttings, or seed. Email me at!

Finally, it's that time of year again. I've spotted the first gemmae of the season! These are Drosera leucoblasta.

Drosera leucoblasta showing gemmae.
The first gemmae forming is the real sign of autumn.
Pygmies are my favorite, as I've said before. And since I already mentioned trading earlier in this post, I might as well say that I'd love to do gemmae swaps with all comers this season. Here is my current list of pygmies:

D. allantostigma
D. barbigera
D. callistos
, Brookton large form
D. × Carbarup
D. dichrosepala
× Dork's Pink
D. enodes (Scotts River)
D. grievei
D. helodes
D. leucoblasta
D. leucostigma
D. mannii
D. nitidula
D. occidentalis
var. microscapa
D. omissa, pink flower
D. oreopodion
D. palacea
, giant form
D. patens
D. pulchella
, orange flower
D. pygmaea
D. roseana
D. sargentii
D. silvicola
D. scorpioides
, pink flower
D. spilos

And these are the plants I'm looking for this season! The ones in bold are the ones I'm most excited about.

D. androsacea
D. citrina
D. closterostigma
D. echinoblastus
D. eneabba

D. gibsonii
D. hyperostigma
D. lasiantha
D. microscapa
D. miniata
D. nivea
D. parvula
D. pedicellaris
D. platystigma
D. pycnoblasta
D. rechingeri
D. sewelliae
D. stelliflora
D. walyunga

I love trading! Feel free to hit me up to trade whenever.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Plant Profile: Drosera spiralis, updated

This is part of a series of posts describing my experiences with different species, their culture requirements, and photos of their growth in my collection. The full series can be read here, or by species on the Series page.

About a year and a half ago I did a Plant Profile of one of my favorite sundew species, Drosera spiralis. A lot has happened in the mean time, so I decided to do an update.

Here's what my plant (and my collection) looked like back in April 2014.

Drosera spiralis 1.5 years ago.
The halcyon days of yore.
And here's the same plant today!

Drosera spiralis, just the other day.
I didn't realize they got this big, hahahah.
It was really hard to photograph because of how big its gotten. The leaves are more than 9 inches (23 cm) tall, which means they end up growing into my lights sometimes. It's a big robust plant, and has proven very easy and vigorous in my conditions.

This was like the 3rd or 4th sundew I acquired, at the Winter 2014 BACPS meeting. That's where we all learned the difference between D. spiralis and D. gramnifolia. One of the tests was how the leaves unfurl. Of course, taxonomy being what it is, the plants don't always cooperate.

Drosera spiralis leaf.
A uniform spiral, technically characteristic of D. gramnifolia.
Drosera spiralis, another leaf.
More what a D. spiralis leaf is "supposed" to look like.
One of the things that I learned was that D. spiralis is a difficult, temperamental plant that might just up and die on me at any minute. That hasn't proven to be true. I suspect that two things make this plant happy in my conditions: extremely bright light, and consistently cool nighttime temperatures. Longer-leaved sundews always do the worst in low light, and the mountaintops where this is found in habitat are pretty much always chilly at night.

I had enough success with this formula that I've even flowered the plant twice!

Drosera spiralis flower stalk.
Check out those stipules too, those are sweet.
Drosera spiralis flower.
Best Drosera flower I've seen in my collection so far.
The second time it flowered the plant even managed to set a bit of seed. I sold the excess, but I've saved some to try cultivating. Another thing I want to try is root cuttings. The plant has sent out long roots into the tray that are just ripe for propagation.

Drosera spiralis roots.
Time to take some cuttings!
Basically, this plant wants highland conditions, but with very bright, intense light. Since I've moved my collection into the garage (where it's even cooler) it's just done fantastically. If your Drosera capensis look really fantastic, there's a chance you could grow D. spiralis as well. It's worth a shot anyway.

And don't forget to feed them! The mature plants don't move their leaves, but they'll curl all the tentacles in to feast. And little babies even roll up on the food, like this sproutling that appeared a few months ago next to the mother plant.

Drosera spiralis plantlet.
You go little plant. Eat that fish food.
Much too cute.

The Breakdown
  • media: long-fiber Sphagnum, perhaps with a bit of pumice to keep it airy
  • light: unspeakable amounts of light
  • water: tray method, doesn't mind occasional dry days
  • temperature: cool nights make all the difference
  • feeding: feeding fresh leaves is good.
  • propagation: no experience so far (soon, though!)

Friday, November 13, 2015

A bit of trading

I haven't done much trading lately. I've been a bit too busy to deal with receiving bare-root plants, and I don't have any space in my collection anyway. But I've recently started hunting for South America Drosera (if you've got extra and would like to work something out, email me at, so I wound up doing a couple trades.

Drosera felix is getting acclimated to its new home with a bit of boosted humidity.

Drosera felix or kaieteurensis or whatever.
Time to get in shape little guy.
Actually, I just looked it up on Wikipedia and I guess D. felix is now considered synonymous with Drosera kaieteurensis? That's too bad, felix is a cuter specific epithet (it means "happy"). Cute little plant in any case!

I also got some leaf cuttings of Drosera latifolia.

Drosera latifolia starts.
Leaf cuttings always make me a bit anxious.
And a nice big root of Drosera graomogolensis.

Drosera graomogolensis start.
Root cuttings are much less fraught.
I'm looking forward to these guys striking and growing out, but it'll be a few months at the earliest.

One of the people I was trading with wanted some Drosera hamiltonii, so I decided to take some root cuttings. The roots had gone insane and grown into the pot, and I ended up with several extra. So I potted them up too!

Drosera hamiltonii starts.
I'm running out of room still.
Hopefully these grow in pretty quickly, since I oriented the root vertically.

In other propagation news, I finally managed to get a strike on Pinguicula "Yucca Doo 1717".

Pinguicula "Yucca Doo 1717" from leaf pull.
New baby plants!
I've done several pulls of this plant, but this is the first one that didn't wither away immediately. It's just in time too, since it looks like one of my adult plants above it is melting away itself.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Plants I haven't mentioned in a while

Sometimes it seems like I'm always posting about the same plants. Today I decided to check out a few species that I haven't paid much attention to lately.

Drosera collinsiae has been looking weirdly unhappy for the past month or two.

Drosera collinsiae.
At least the Utricularia bisquamata is going strong!
It looks sort of the way it does when it's heat stressed but that's definitely not the problem right now. This has never been a very vigorous plant in my conditions though, so it could be anything really. I wish it would perk up though!

The neighboring Drosera affinis is doing much better.

Drosera affinis.
Quite dainty. I like it.
I don't mention it much, but I really like this species. Its stem-forming habit is great – distinctive, but not ridiculous like Drosera madagascariensis. It's an elegant, delicate-looking plant.

I dug out some of the moss from around Drosera brevifolia so it can have a bit more room now.

Drosera brevifolia.
Maybe I can feed this guy again soon and encourage flowering.
I hope I didn't damage the roots in doing so. I really need to get this plant to flower one more time so I can start a new pot and throw this one out. That Sphagnum is really awful stuff, very dense and stiff. It just totally swallows up plants and doesn't even look nice.

I got this long-armed form of Drosera capillaris in the last NASC auction because I liked the location data: Tate's Hell Swamp, FL. It's actually a really handsome plant though!

Drosera capillaris long-arm (Tate's Hell Swamp).
Wonderfully dewy. Great plant!
That's one of the best red colors in my collection, and it's supporting a really large amount of leaves. Very vigorous plant, I like it a lot.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's really good to feed your sundews

I've been very good about feeding my sundews lately. I've been able to give a number of them good solid feedings, and am planning on doing more going forward. One of the good things about feeding is that it really increases seed production. When I really got into growing sundews I wanted to get a decent stock of seed available to sell, since finding seed to buy was difficult when I first started collecting. I should be updating my sales page with additional seeds soon.

One of my favorite species to feed is always Drosera burmannii, since they always respond so dramatically to being fed.

Drosera burmannii Gunung Keledang.
You go little guy!
Check out that brand new leaf on D. burmannii (Gunung Keledang). This is the first feeding for these seedlings. Should be able to do even more feeding soon.

These D. burmannii (Hann River) flowered out a bunch, so they were really in need of a feeding.

Drosera burmannii Hann River.
Nice new growth everywhere.
All the pale leaves are new growth from feeding. That one plant on the left of the picture is what happens if you let D. burmannii flower out without feeding – they sort of melt away by blooming themselves to death. Whoops!

The closely-related Drosera sessilifolia is almost as enthusiastic about feeding as is D. burmannii.

Drosera sessilifolia.
I love me some Drosera Subg. Thelocalyx.
I still need to see if heavy feeding can get these guys to size up. I haven't yet met Fernando's challenge.

Drosera natalensis tan up really well when they're not fed, but it's fun seeing the color contrast after a round of new growth.

Drosera natalensis.
So dewy!
This is a very nice, low-maintenance pot of plants. It just sort of does its thing, which is great.

I've also fed my pings, and been pretty good about taking pullings lately. Look at this brand new baby Pinguicula gigantea.

Pinguicula gigantea.
Soon I'll be propagating pings properly, just you watch.
The other plantlets in the pot are only 6 months old, and they're already pretty big. Pings are really fun to propagate.

Finally, the one group of plants I never have to think about are my Utricularia, especially the terrestrial species. Generally you just need to leave them alone, keep them wet, and let them colonize the media. Then eventually you should get some flowers.

Utricularia pubescens.
One of my favorite species of Utricularia, easy.
Utricularia pubescens! Funny little flowers and weird "leaves" (utrics don't technically have leaves as such). Unfortunately it's really hard to take a picture of the leaves, but there's a great picture on this page of Barry Rice's Carnivorous Plant FAQ. I wish this pot wasn't quite so mossy, but I certainly don't mind the flowers!